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Russia: West More Realistic about Iran’s Role in Syrian Crisis Settlement

Local Editor

(FNA) – Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov reiterated his country’s support for Iran’s participation in the International Geneva II Peace Conference on Syria, and welcomed the western countries’ more realistic view about Iran’s influential role in the region, particularly in ending the current bloodshed in Syria.

“We hear more realistic remarks about Iran’s participation in the international Geneva II conference on Syria by the western countries that once opposed Tehran’s presence in the talks”, Lavrov said in a joint press conference with his Kuwaiti counterpart Sheikh Sabah Khalid Al Sabah in Moscow on Friday.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov underlined that the conflict in Syria will not be resolved without participation of the regional countries, particularly Iran.

Earlier this week, Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Marziyeh Afkham said Iran would not accept any prerequisite for participating in the upcoming Geneva II talks on Syria.

Afkham’s remarks came in reaction to US State Department Spokeswoman Marie Harf’s earlier statements that Washington might be better disposed to Iran’s taking part in a Geneva II conference if Tehran were to embrace the original Geneva communiqué.

“The Islamic Republic of Iran is ready to help resolve the Syrian crisis and if our presence is useful for the attainment of a resolution, setting (pre)conditions for inviting Iran is unacceptable and we do not accept any condition”, the Iranian foreign ministry spokeswoman said Tuesday.

Afkham further cautioned that excluding Iran from the political process would mean depriving the negotiations of Tehran’s constructive role.

The United States said on Monday it would be more open to Iran’s taking part in a long-delayed peace conference on Syria if Iran publicly backed a 2012 statement calling for a transitional government in Syria.

“We’ve been clear, multiple times, about … our expectation that any party that (is) included in Geneva II must accept and publicly support the Geneva communiqué”, the US state department spokeswoman said.

“If, and this is an if, Iran were to endorse and embrace the Geneva communiqué publicly, we would view the possibility of their participation more openly”, Harf said, adding, “The United States would then view its taking part more favorably”,

Despite Washington’s stance, Russia, China, Syria, UN Chief Ban Ki-moon, UN-Arab League Joint Special Envoy in Syria Lakhdar Brahimi and an array of other regional and international actors influential on the Syrian crisis settlement issue have all demanded Iran’s partaking in the Geneva II conference. In the latest instance of such demands, UN Undersecretary General Jeffrey D. Feltman last week underscored Iran’s vital role in the settlement of disputes in the region, and called for Tehran’s participation in the International Geneva II Peace Conference on crisis-hit Syria.

“It is hard for me to imagine having a solution in Syria that works if Iran isn’t somehow engaged and involved in this”, Jeffrey Feltman said last Saturday.

Syria has been experiencing unrest since March 2011 with organized attacks by well-armed gangs against Syrian police forces and border guards being reported across the country.

Tens of thousands of people have been killed since some sporadic protest rallies turned into armed clashes.

The government blames outlaws, saboteurs, and armed terrorist groups for the deaths, stressing that the unrest is being orchestrated from abroad.

Tel Aviv, Washington, Ankara and some Arab capitals have been staging various plots to topple President Bashar al-Assad, who is well known in the world for his anti-Israeli stances.

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